Baby bats displaced by fires blanketed in love
HUNDREDS of baby flying foxes that have been left injured, orphaned or displaced due to the severe heat and raging bushfires burning throughout parts of NSW and Victoria are receiving lots of extra love and care from local wildlife carers and craft enthusiasts.
Members from the Ipswich Spinners and Weavers Group have been hard at work making handmade wraps and pouches for the babies to snuggle into, as they resemble a mother's body and wings.
Earlier this week the donated the items were handed over to Sue Morris, the education officer for Bat Rescue and Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland.
Spinners and Weavers member Belinda Whitehouse said she and her friends wanted to find a meaningful cause to help during the bushfire crisis.
"You see so many things in the media about the bushfires, and you feel like you have to do something," she said.
"Our founding member found a group on Facebook asking for pouches and bat wraps to help wildlife. We had some patterns here and have been making them since November.
"We were sending them down to NSW but it was hard to pay for the postage. So we found a local wildlife carer and have donated a number of items to her.
"This was just our little way of making a contribution."
The group also donated gift cards to Ms Morris so she could buy food for the animals.
Ms Morris said several hundred bats had been relocated to Queensland to be with wildlife carers.
"We have been getting a lot of animals from heat affected areas," she said.
"There have been several really bad heat events in both NSW and Victoria so we have got a lot of babies that have come up from there, because the carers down south are just inundated.
"We have had several hundred from NSW and have a few more coming in the next couple of days."
Ms Morris said the donations were vital as it helped the babies feel as if they were still with their mother.
"When we receive the babies we put them onto roles and cover them with the wraps, which is how their mother would wrap them up with her wings," she said.
"Babies spend the first month of their life hanging onto their mother.
"We use these wraps and pouches for the first two or three months of their lives, which is when they start to climb around.
"They then start flying around at 10 weeks old."
The animals are carefully monitored and are taught to source food in large enclosed areas before being released into the wild.
"They are handraised at home by carers for the first 12 weeks of their life, and then they go off to a place which we call a creche, which is when they go into a big flight cage for about another month and that's where they practice flying and socialising," Ms Morris said.
"This is where they learn to forget about humans and learn to be a bat again.
"Then they are soft released, which is where they go to a soft cage where they spend more time learning to fly.
"When the weather is good and there is food about we open the hatches and they can start to explore the area.
"We support feed them for a month or two while they start to find food in the area and integrate into the local colony."